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Posts tagged as “tech”

Hamilton Schools officials acknowledge problems with virtual learning program

Journal-News |

Mike Holbrook, superintendent told the board, the problems with the contractor-supplied computer program are being addressed but in hindsight the supplier “over-promised and under delivered.”

“There was a general misunderstanding of what VLI was,” said Rick Pate, executive director of secondary programs. “Many families thought it would be what it (at home learning) was last (school) year,” after all Ohio K-12 schools were ordered closed, he said. “Some families thought it (VLI) would be an easier route,” said Pate. But, he added, the VLI program “requires a significant parent involvement” of three to four hours a day, especially for younger students.

Holbrook last week announced families enrolled in the VLI program, who were originally obligated to stay in the at-home program for the first semester, will soon be allowed to opt out under the district’s new scheduling returning to live classes for all students starting next month.

States invest in datacasting to bridge the K-12 digital divide

Education Dive |

The tech would allow students to receive instructional content in remote areas without internet and comes encrypted for data security. Datacasting, or data broadcasting, has been used for years in the public safety sector, helping first responders prepare for natural disasters, search and rescue missions and school safety operations. Now, the concept is being repurposed to provide rural students who don’t have reliable access to the internet with remote learning opportunities.

(more…)

Months into the pandemic, digital divide still leaves poor kids at a disadvantage

Ohio Capital Journal |

Members of the U.S. Senate are pushing for $4 billion in the next coronavirus relief package to help students in rural and low-income areas gain access to high speed internet.

Senate Democrats sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last week urging the agency to allow broadband connection into students’ homes by expanding the E-Rate Program, which helps schools and libraries connect to the internet. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) argued that the FCC has the ability to expand the program without permission from Congress. “The consequences are dire,” Van Hollen told Maryland Matters. “I urge the FCC to use their existing authorities to expand internet accessibility, and I will continue to push my Republican colleagues to provide desperately needed funds for these efforts.”

Data from Common Sense Media, a non-profit that conducts media research, has shown that the number of kids lacking access is as high as 16 million. Studies have shown that Black, Latino and low-income students are disproportionately affected. About 15 percent of households with school-aged kids don’t have access to high speed internet at home, according to a Pew Research study that analyzed the 2015 U.S. Census data.

McClain HS gets metal detectors to take temperatures

Highland County Press |

Jesse Mitchell, Greenfield’s technology director, had the great idea to put in the walk-through metal detectors, branded by Secvera, to take students’ temperatures quickly.

The machines register the students’ and staff members’ temperatures from the wrist, and a computerized voice reads off whether someone’s temperature is normal.

McClain Principal Matt Shelton said that the machines make the entrance to the building easy and eliminate big clusters of students. The budget for the machines was estimated to be around $3,000 each, and Shelton feels the investment helps things run smoothly each morning. 

Read more at the Highland County Press.

Ripley Union Lewis Huntington – BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant

RULH |

RULH was awarded the BroadbandOhio Connectivity grant in the amount of $95,338. The district will purchase Kajeet SmartSpots (20 new SmartSpots and reimbursement for 60 previously purchased with district funds). The district will also purchase 16 portable SmartBus Units that can provide internet access at remote locations parking lots and libraries.

More in the RULH newsletter.

How Does Remote Learning Work if Students Can’t Even Get Online?

The 74 Million |

Cleveland now ranks as the worst connected big city in the nation, newly-released U.S. Census data show, even as the need for online learning has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost 31 percent of Cleveland households have no internet access at home at all, not even through cell phones, according to new 2019 American Community Survey data released late last week by the Census Bureau. That’s the greatest percentage of all cities with 100,000 or more households. Rankings from a year earlier placed Cleveland as fourth among the worst connected large cities.

Why kids need special protection from AI’s influence

MIT Technology Review |

Algorithms can change the course of children’s lives. Kids are interacting with Alexas that can record their voice data and influence their speech and social development. They’re binging videos on TikTok and YouTube pushed to them by recommendation systems that end up shaping their worldviews.

Algorithms are also increasingly used to determine what their education is like, whether they’ll receive health care, and even whether their parents are deemed fit to care for them. Sometimes this can have devastating effects: this past summer, for example, thousands of students lost their university admissions after algorithms—used in lieu of pandemic-canceled standardized tests—inaccurately predicted their academic performance.

Children, in other words, are often at the forefront when it comes to using and being used by AI, and that can leave them in a position to get hurt. “Because they are developing intellectually and emotionally and physically, they are very shapeable,” says Steve Vosloo, a policy specialist for digital connectivity at UNICEF, the United Nations Children Fund.

The article continues with a look at a number of documents being developed with guidelines for the use of Ai with children.

Broadband education grants awarded, give rural districts extra boost

Columbus Dispatch |

Tom Davis, president of the Appalachian Children’s Coalition, the advocacy organization that lobbied the state to waive the match requirement, said broadband is just one of the many chronic, generational challenges that southeastern Ohio faces.

The state awarded $7.2 million in grants to the 24 Appalachian counties served by the coalition; that’s 14% of the total funding for a region that has only 10% of the state’s population, according to data from the education department.

“That’s really significant,” Davis said, especially for a region as poverty-stricken and underserved as southeastern Ohio is.

Rural Ohio school district telehealth project could be blueprint for region

Farm and Dairy |

A long commute is an inconvenience. But when you’re one of two behavioral health counselors for Switzerland of Ohio Local School District, with eight buildings spread across 536 square miles, it’s more than an inconvenience. It’s a serious hindrance to your work.

This year, the district has been the site for a telehealth pilot project that could be replicated by other school districts across the state. The project is increasing broadband infrastructure and other equipment and facilities so that counselors can meet with students in different buildings, virtually.

Lydia Brodegard, director of special education for Ohio Valley Educational Service Center, said the district is the largest geographical district in Ohio, covering all of Monroe County and parts of Belmont and Noble counties.

The project is connected to the Ohio Broadband Strategy and is a $1 million effort funded by Ohio Medicaid.